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Trump Calls Pritzker 'My Friend' At White House Event

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker spent a long weekend in Washington, D.C. He was meeting with other governors, and even got a special shout-out from President Donald Trump.

On Monday morning, Trump talked to members of the National Governors Association about infrastructure, health care and trade.

He ended his remarks by telling the governors how special they are. He then pointed at Pritzker and called him his “friend.”

“You have such an easy state,“ Trump said, drawing chuckles from the crowd. ”Great state of Illinois. What an easy state. I don’t know. Huh?”

“Have you found it to be easier or tougher than you thought?” Trump asked Pritzker.

“Well, you're going to help us out,“ Pritzker said, drawing even more laughs from the room.

“I'll help you out. I help everybody out. I'm going to help you,” Trump replied.

Pritzker, of course, had relentlessly attacked Trump in last year’s campaign.

On Friday, Pritzker joined other Democratic governors to protest Trump’s tax overhaul. The law capped the State and Local Tax deduction, which has been especially rough on states with higher income and property taxes. It's resulted in higher tax bills for people in blue states like California, New York, and Illinois.

Last week, Trump also appointed Pritzker to the 10-member Council of Governors. It coordinates with federal authorities on issues involving the national guard, homeland security, and disaster response.

A version of this story was first broadcast on Monday, February 26, 2019.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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